What is Herbalism
Herbalism refers to folk and traditional medicinal practice based on the use of plants and plant extracts. Herbalism is also known as phytotherapy.
The use of herbs to treat disease is almost universal among non-industrialized societies. A number of traditions have come to dominate the practise of herbal medicine in the west at the end of the twentieth century:-
· The Western, based on Greek and Roman sources,
· The Ayurvedic from India, and
· Chinese herbal medicine.
Many, if not most, prescription drugs are derived from plants with medicinal properties, otherwise known as “herbs.”
Herbalism is not about pharmaceuticals, however. It is a centuries-old form of medical treatment that targets not so much just the symptoms, which is typical of “modern” medicine, but treats the person as a whole, using the entirety of these plants that offer therapeutic properties, of which there are many. Some examples: aloe, which is applied to the skin for treatment of minor burns and skin irritation; and Echinacea, which is ingested as a deterrent to colds and flu. There are dozens more.
Herbalism Dates Way, Waaayyy Back
When we say herbalism dates back centuries, we aren’t exaggerating. In fact, we aren’t going back far enough – not by a long shot. Some evidence dates the use of herbs for medicinal purposes back more than 60,000 years.
There are numerous types of herbalism in practice around the world such as Traditional Chinese medicine,Ayurveda, native North American and Western herbalism. Even though it still gets referred to as an “alternative therapy,” herbalism in one way, shape or form is the most common type of medicine practiced worldwide. More than 80 percent of the global population depends on the use of herbs for their health.
The key thing to know about herbalism is that, unlike plant-based pharmaceuticals, it is not based on just one chemical compound extracted from a plant for use in a drug; it uses remedies that entail the entire plant and all its biochemical constituents.
“Wholeness” is the key concept here. An herbalist – or, in layman’s terms, an herbal therapist – focuses on devising a treatment program tailormade for the entirety of a person’s being, to encompass the mental, emotional, spiritual, social and environmental aspects of his or her life, and not just the physical, although that is included, too.
Although the practice of herbal medicine is not licensed in America, herbalism has seen rapid growth in popularity across the United States. It has gained credibility among not only individuals seeking alternative and less-expensive therapies for a variety of heath conditions but also among health-care professionals open to practical solutions that cover cases that might otherwise fall between the cracks of accepted Western medical treatment protocols.